'Azzun 'Atma, 'Izbet alTabib, Eyal Crossing
Tzvia S., Ruchela, Rahel A. (reporting) Judith Green (translator)
5:00 Many workers already left the Checkpoint and are seeking a place to sit down. They light bonfires and wait for their transportation.
A great many workers at the entrance, we enter the observation area and immediately 2 guards arrive to announce to us that we are forbidden to stand there. Once again, we tell them that we are standing in that area in order to observe those entering. Then the guard tells us that it is dangerous: Look at the broken bottles (glass bottles broken on the ground). We said fine, they left. A soldier is watching us from the tower, making sure that we do not get too close to the fence. Worrying about our safety. We stood there for about an hour. The crowding, the chaos, were unbearable. The path where one is supposed to go is broken and a large number of those entering try to get ahead in line and gather around the one turnstile which is supposed to bring in who knows how many people during the morning. It looks like thousands. According to what they told us in the past, there are about 7000 workers. It is hard to describe this experience. People who have succeeded in passing through the turnstile, are clutching their chests and seeking some quiet of soul that will help them continue on their way to the next bottleneck...which is the entrance to the checkpoint area. From there, one constantly hears a female soldier or guard telling them, in Hebrew or Arabic, keep yourselves in order, don't make a fuss; something like that. The passageway is totally inhuman. Shocking. And it is daily. Sometimes women arrive at the opening in a group, and then the men allow them to pass through in an act of tremendous chivalry.
At 6:15, when there are still a lot of people who have not entered the checkpoint, we go to 'Azzun 'Atma. There, the reserve soldiers have switched. There are a lot of people waiting to exit. They go, one by one to the inspection and then exit. The reserve soldiers this time happen to be from Meretz (they told us, without being asked) and think that this is some help in the situation. True, the rumor which has it that the wall now being built in both directions, and almost reaching to the entrance road, is about to close and an alternative road is being prepared. The rumor continues, and says that the checkpoint will close and the workers going into Israel will have to use the Eyal checkpoint. Which will increase the number of people trying to enter there, and god knows how many additional elephants you can get into a Volkswagen!
In brief, this is a difficult experience in the morning, and we have no way to change it. From there, we continue by way of highway #5 to the Barkan crossroad, Haris in the direction of Funduk, Azzun...
7:30 At 'Azzun, the gate is closed because of stone throwing; the military police stand there and explain to the residents that they can't go out by the main road and they will have to go by way of 'Izbet alTabib. We enter by way of Izbet alTabib.
9:30 Return home.